Leaked documents reveal mass vaccination programme schedule if vaccine receives approval by December
Leaked documents seen by the Health Service Journal reportedly say the health service’s Covid vaccine rollout plans would see the entire adult population able to begin receiving the jab before the end of January.
According to the journal, NHS England’s draft Covid-19 vaccine deployment programme reveals when each cohort will likely begin receiving the vaccine, and details plans to create massive capacity across GO surgeries, “large scale mass vaccination sites”, NHS trusts and “roving models” to reach those who cannot travel.
It also relies on assumptions that there will be a 75 per cent take-up among the public, outside of residential settings such as care homes, where 100 per cent take-up is expected.
However, it is unclear what would happen id there is a delay to vaccine supply. According to the HSJ report, a small delay “may not make a huge impact on the overall schedule” as most doses are scheduled to be administered between early January and mid-March.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday he was becoming “more and more confident” that life would begin returning to normal by spring, as he announced plans for a vaccine rollout in the UK next month.
He cautioned that most of the jabs would be administered in the New Year, which aligns with the documents seen by HSJ.
According to the draft plan, care home residents and staff, healthcare workers, and anyone aged above 70 would be vaccinated by the end of December.
This will be followed by everyone aged 65-70, including anyone in high and moderate risk categories in that age group, from early January. Everyone aged 50-65 is scheduled to receive vaccinations from mid-January, followed by everyone aged 18-50 from late January.
The bulk of people aged 18 -50 will likely be vaccinated during March, said the report.
As each person must take two doses of the vaccine, administered 28 days apart, the plan aims to have everyone in each cohort vaccinated by the end of April.
Mr Hancock said he had formally asked the regulator, the MHRA, to assess the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use in the UK, adding that the company has already begun submitting data.
“If the regulator approves a vaccine we will be ready to start the vaccination next month with the bulk of roll out in the New Year,” he said.